'Landshark could have gone anywhere but we made a call to go to Goresbridge'
Egmont Stud gearing up again for this week's Breeze-Up Sale
When Landshark is loaded into the stalls at the Curragh on Saturday for the Irish 2,000 Guineas it will be a year to the day since he sold for €210,000 at the Goresbridge Breeze-Up Sale.
A 5,000gns purchase from Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, the son of Bated Breath, overlooked by so many as a yearling, stole the show when it came to Goresbridge and convinced Eamonn Reilly of BBA Ireland to purchase a first European runner for the Edwards family’s E5 Racing, who own Breeders’ Cup winners New Money Honey and Good Magic, who was second in the Kentucky Derby earlier this month.
Landshark’s subsequent form on the track showed it to be money well spent, with an impressive debut victory followed by a second to subsequent dual Group 1 winner US Navy Flag in the Group 3 Round Tower Stakes.
Twelve months on, Egmont Stud's Paula and Mark Flannery and their father Edward return to Goresbridge with a draft of 15 horses that includes Landshark’s half-brother by Foxwedge. The breeze-up market is different this year, less buoyant and lacking the record-breaking highs of last year but the family are pragmatic and realistic in their expectations ahead of the final sale of the season at Goresbridge.
“We’ve sold 12 so far and we’re ahead a little, so if you can keep it like that it’s okay,” says Paula.
For Mark, it’s a question of managing expectations.
“You have to work with what the market is, you have to adjust your expectations," he says. "You might think going over that you’ll get a good price for a horse but if the market isn’t there then you have to readjust your level to suit that.”
The family feels that a measure of realism has been applied to the breeze-up sales this year, a comedown from the giddy highs of last season to a more realistic level.
“It’s probably a slight correction from last year too I think,” explains Mark. “Last year was probably too good and it’s coming back down to the level of orders that need to be filled - there are too many horses there."
Paula adds: “There are obviously too many horses there and that’s the thing but show me one person who isn’t partly guilty of that – somebody bred too many and we bought too many – but that will work itself out too I think.”
The system they try to implement with their breeze-up horses gives them scope at the sales to purchase a less-polished yearling. If at all possible, every yearling purchased is given a six-week break in a field when they arrive at Egmont Stud in County Cork.
“When they come home from the yearling sales they can be so wound up it’s hard to break them, so we find it works to give them that time to let down and relax, get a bit of grass into them and be natural I suppose. We’ve found some of them have changed beyond belief physically just getting that six weeks off,” Paula explains.
Landshark and his year-younger brother are two of the breezers who have benefited from the opportunity to step off the sales preparation treadmill and be young, growing horses for a while.
“Landshark and his brother both came as big, raw horses from the sales and every day you’d look at them outside they were improving,” recalls Edward.
"I think it influences the type of horse we buy too,” adds Mark. “A lot of the time - now it doesn’t work all the time - but you can buy the bigger, raw, more backward horse and a lot of them do turn into racehorses while they are out for that six weeks.”
The timing of the Goresbridge Sale, coming at the end of May, fits perfectly with the Flannery philosophy of giving a horse plenty of time.
“It’s one of the reasons why we sell so many in Goresbridge, because it is that month later and the horses have more time. We don’t have to start as early with them,” says Edward.
The work done by the Donohoe family and ITM in developing the sale and increasing its profile and quality has not gone unnoticed and their success is underlined by the decisions of vendors, the Flannerys included, to keep some of their better two-year-olds in the wings for Goresbridge.
“Last year we made a conscious decision to send some of our best horses there. Landshark could have gone anywhere but we made a call to go there and hopefully stand out,” Mark reveals.
Stand out they did, with the handsome colt attracting plenty of attention and reinforcing that positive first impression with an impressive breeze.
Paula recalls: “He did the clock and he was visually very impressive as well. He was a super mover and his stride length was impressive from the first day we worked him.”
“He was just a very natural horse at going quick, one of those ones who knew how to do it,” her brother adds.
Naturally, when it came to restocking at the yearling sales last year, the family were on the lookout for the offspring of Tremelo Pointe and found her Foxwedge colt at Tattersalls Book 3, where they purchased him for 7,000gns.
“They are big, strong horses with very good actions and great temperaments, which goes a long way," says Mark.
"Foxwedge is a good sire and from limited opportunities he has done well and he’s doing very well in the southern hemisphere. I’d say she could be a very good mare, she has another filly Listed-placed in Italy (Mefite by Pastoral Pursuits) so she has the makings of being a good mare.”
By Saturday evening, she could be the dam of a Classic winner but before then, the Flannerys will be hoping to have their judgement and methods vindicated once more, as they were so spectacularly with Landshark one year ago.
GORESBRIDGE BREEZE-UP SALE
Where/when Goresbridge, County Kilkenny
Thursday, May 24
|9am||Inspection of lots at Gowran Park|
|12pm||Breeze-up at Gowran Park|
|3pm||Inspection of lots at Gowran Park|
|6pm||The Mark O'Hanlon memorial buffet at the Roof Top restaurant, Gowran Park|
Friday, May 25
|8am||Inspection of lots at Goresbridge|
|10.30am||Sale at Goresbridge|
Sold last year From 207 offered, 177 sold for turnover of €6,100,500, an average of €34,466 and median of €21,000
Star graduates Fiesolana (won Matron Stakes, bought by Federico Barberini for €35,000), Music Show (won Falmouth Stakes, bought by Gill Richardson for €16,000), Willyconker (won Grade 1 Frank E Kilroe Mile Stakes, bought by Susan Leehy for €1,000 at September Sale)